The great Regional divide… (Region locking and what not)

Despite the, err, "nature" of Catherine, I would love for it to be ported to the UK and EU

I hate Regions when it comes to media products. As someone who tries their best not to live in too much of an entertainment bubble, stuff coming out for one Region (say NTSC Region 1) and not another (PAL Region 2)… I find it a pain in the arse.Take Catherine as an example. Atlus are seeing that it gets a US release. Okay, cool, it’ll get all the English translation stuff out of the way and what not. But it’ll be Region locked for sure.

You know what? Not only are English speaking countries divided by a common language, they’re divided by TV standards and Region locking.

I’m still trying to understand the financial sense in this day and age. You’d think that companies would want their products to get into as many paying hands as possible. Same happens with TV series (and films) too, not just games. Clerks: The Animated Series is another product I’d like to buy, but unless I get my hands on a multi region DVD player – I won’t be buying it any time soon.

Clerks: The Animated Series has been aired in the UK though.

Of course with games the pain is even more acute. Whilst there have been some handhelds that have been Region free, most consoles are locked. And invalidating warranties in order to mod a console to play different regions… not something I’m comfortable with.

I suppose one issue is that each country has different censorship and ratings procedures, so keeping stuff Region locked easily plays into the interests of close minded types that think they’re protecting the public, (but are really just peeving off fully consenting adults instead). Still, the countries that are really worried about this kind of thing from a “moral” perspective tend to have strict import controls anyway.

Though, if all entertainment becomes digital and maybe even part of “the cloud” – Region locking may just disappear into the sunset. However, even services like Steam are Region locked to a certain extent. I can only hope that digital services will break down Regional divides, yet this doesn’t help me wanting to play Catherine sometime soon. Sigh.


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